There is a saying among distance coaches that “the process is the goal.” It’s not much different than “work the process” or just "process” as a verb. There’s the creative process and a thousand other processes that get us from dreams to that amazing moment when it all comes true, but you've got to find your own and work it.
I find that people without a process lose their way. They value outcome above all else, not wanting to endure the suffering it takes to work the process. So, of course, they rarely see an outcome — or at least not the one they want.
I think of all this because I was listening to a favorite podcast the other day. I’ve become quite the fan of podcasts, passing time on the spin bike or a long car ride listening to smart people riff on what works for them. Invariably, podcasts are about purpose, I’ve found. Which is good, because I’m always trying to find a way to do things just a little better, or to gain insight into the ways others attack a problem to see if I might glean a nugget of wisdom I can incorporate into my own process.
Rare, however, is the individual who trumpets their own process as being the best. That’s a sort of podcast no-no. But in listening to a noted writer speak about process recently, there was a note about process that stung. After getting through the artsy stuff about finding oneself and mantra and the muse and all the stuff that, frankly, gets in the way of putting words on the page, this writer spoke disparagingly about writers who enjoy a daily writing routine, suggesting that it was mostly old white guys “whose wife brings them lunch every day.” That’s an actual quote. The best way to be truly creative, this writer suggested, is to go alone to a hotel or a writer’s retreat or a cabin and basically vomit words onto the page. This, it was suggested, is the one true process. Personally, I think this individual wishes someone would bring them lunch every day.
I’m not old but I’m white. But I do like to write each and every day. Love it. Adore it. Rise at dawn. Pot of coffee. LA Times. Then butt in seat for six hours, finding a way to write a thousand words some days and a hundred words on others. One word at a time. I get cranky and even angry on days I don’t write. That’s my process. I’ve written in airports, secluded cabins, on tropical islands and movie sets, in five-star hotel rooms and tents pitched on a muddy jungle floor, and just about anyplace in the world you can put pen on paper. Most of all, I write in my office — bookshelves, comfortable chair, a big wooden glorious mess of a desk. That’s the process which works best for me.
And for what it’s worth, I don’t eat lunch.
Today’s Workout: The team ran well at the Arcadia Invitational over the weekend. It’s a great mid-season prep for the big championship meets to come in May. I gave everyone yesterday off, so after an easy morning run today, we’re going to be on the track this afternoon: 2x1000, 2x(300-200-300-200-300), 2x1000. A little strength, a little speed.